Monday, May 27, 2013

The Family that Races Together...Memorial Classic 5k Race Report

My two favorite things on the planet are my family and racing.

When you combine those two, I have just entered Heaven!

We signed up for this Memorial Day Classic 5k originally because we though friends were going to do it with us.  However, they bailed, but we were already registered.  We had also seen that they offered a kids one mile fun run, and with the kids now having 6 weeks of track under their belts, I knew that they could handle it.  
I have been excited all weekend about this race.  I was going over my race history and realized that my most recent 5k PR is two years old.  I have done well in some of the 5k portions attached to tris, but for a stand alone 5k, my current PR is 28:12 from two years ago.  I knew I could beat it, and was excited to have a chance too!
We got up early in the morning, and we all put on our race shirts.  I am such a dork, because I almost got weepy at the sight of my husband and kids and I all in our matching race shirts.  It means so much to me to share this with them!  I gave the kids some instructions about how and where to wait for Ken and I since we would be racing before they would.  They were excited and Ken and I headed off to the start of the 5k.  I made sure that I had my music ready, on the race play list, and due to past races where the battery was dead, I made sure I had charged it as well :)
The gun went off and I knew I was going fast.  I wondered if it was too fast, and hindsight, it may have been, but not too bad.  I slowly settled into a "comfortably hard" pace and tried to focus on my breath and  maintain it as best I could.  I decided to leave my watch at home and just run by feel. I didn't want the annoying beeping or alerts to drive me nuts, so I had no idea how fast I was going, just that I was running at a pace that was hard and fast.  I passed several people, but by the half way point some women started to pass me.  This really bugged me!  I usually don't care, but they looked about my age, so I tried hard to at last stay with them the best that I could, and they really pushed me the second half.  I felt good, but the last hundred yards or so I knew that I couldn't go any faster.  I felt like I was going to puke.  Then, I got excited that I felt that way!  I have heard time and time again that with these shorter distances, if you aren't uncomfortable you are doing it wrong, and the whole thing should "hurt like Hell".  Well, mission accomplished!  It was TOUGH those last hundred yards or so, but thankfully, I didn't puke!  When I got to the finish, I noticed that the clock said 26:08.  A new PR by over two minutes!  WOOHOOO!
I then busted out my cell phone and scanned the QR Code on my Bib and that is when I saw this:

I had officially landed #3 in my age group!  My first podium finish ever!  And in a running event to boot!  I was so excited, I couldn't stand it!

Then Ken finished!  He had a great time, and improved by 3 minutes from his time last year at the SL Running Co 5k.

Then we were off to see the kids start off the Kids One Mile Run.  I worried about this a little because my kids complain at track about running one lap around the track.  I kept telling them that this race would be the same as if they were running 4 laps around the track.  However, they surprised me and did very well.  Joshua, who has not done well in the shorter sprint distances blew us away today!  He came in 4th over all on the mile with over 40 kids competing!  He was so proud of himself, and I may or may not have cried a little at his finish :)

Janae finished middle of the pack for this group.  She is the opposite of her brother, she is a sprinter.  Give her anything from 50-200m and she will kill it.  I knew this would be a challenge for her, but she did great, finished with a smile, and that smile only grew bigger when she heard us cheering for her.  I loved what she told me at the finish, "Mommy, I was so tired, but you and Daddy cheering for me made me run faster".

We took a breather for a minute or two after the kids race then went over the awards.  Here I am with my first age group medal!

Ken and I both with our medals.  I love this picture!

We were ready to go, then I could see that the Half Marathoners were coming in.  I ran over to the finish just in time to see my friend, Dave pass through.  He finished in a great time, and is well on the road to qualifying for Boston.  He is a great mentor and always there to help me see the positive in what I sometimes see as crappy work outs.  

Today could not have been better.  I am so proud of my family.  Not only do they come to countless races to cheer me on, they sacrifice things I know they would rather be doing to support me.  To share in this with them was priceless.  It was so good to see progress we have ALL made.  I love that my kids are turning into runners.  I love seeing them have pride and joy in the sport that has literally changed my life.  I don't care if they keep competing, or if they just run for their own enjoyment, but it is something that I hope "sticks".

What's next?  I have the Little Red Century Ride on Saturday, and the Big Bear Lake Sprint Tri in just over 3 weeks.

In the mean time, Happy Racing!

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Week 1

It's been a very long time since I have used an actual training plan that wasn't just something I concocted myself based on what I felt like doing, or other plans my friends did, or ones I have done in the past.  Now, for the first time in over 2 years I am following structured plan mainly to train for the St. George Marathon, but also for LOTOJA with several tris mixed in.  The main goal is the St. George, but believe me, I am not taking my focus off of the tris.  The marathon training will only strengthen my performance in those races, and the cross training that comes with the cycling and swimming will only help my running.  Beautiful thing!

So, I hit every run this week.  That doesn't just mean that I did them, I nailed the paces, the distances, etc.  I finished the week out with a 12 mile easy run at a pace of 11:10.  Granted, whoever calls anything over 8 miles easy, is nuts, but either way, I finished it with a pace of 10:14 :)  I was happy with that because I felt like I was in a natural and comfortable pace, and not taking it too easy or too slow, and I still was faster than it called for. I was grateful the weather cooperated and was a nice sunny day with low wind and about 65.  Perfect!  The only thing I would have changed is I would have preferred for my Ipod to wait till after I got home to die!

However, it wasn't a perfect week. I may have nailed all my run work outs, but I skipped both swims this week.  I just couldn't get my butt out of bed.  No excuses, it is what it is.  I am going to swim on Tuesday and Wednesday of this coming week, and maybe even Friday if it is an easy one as I do have Little Red Century Ride Saturday.  We'll see.

What's next?  I am super excited about the fact that Monday is a race my whole family is participating in!  We are doing the Memorial Day Classic 5k, Ken and I are doing the 5k, and the kids are doing the 1 mile kids run.  I noticed that my current 5k PR is two years old.  I am hoping for a new one!

Till then, Happy Training and Racing all!

Friday, May 24, 2013

Up to Tempo?

I have mentioned that I am on this new marathon training program.  In the past I have only put in miles, and not done any speed work.  I have heard of different methods of doing speed work, but alas, have never done them.

Last night's run called for a 6 mile tempo run.  This was to include 1 mile warm up, 1 mile cool down, and then 4 miles at a pace of 9:50 m/m.  This should be fine, however, I had ridden 50 miles of climbing and tough headwinds the day before and it was also at the end of the day, so I was tired.  I set out to do my best for this run, whether I nailed the pace or not.

The warm up and cool down I didn't care what my pace would be, just took them easy.  I ignored the beeping on my watch and when it said 1 mile, I set it to the pace margin I wanted then took off.  Of course, as is always the case, the wind was really going hard, and I found that it was hard to maintain the pace at first.  I got side cramps, and I felt that I was going much faster than I was actually going.  It was frustrating to me in many ways because not too long ago, I was averaging 9:10-9:30 on my shorter runs, so 9:44 shouldn't be too hard, right?  I was glad that I actually had my music with me, or the constant beeping on my watch would have driven me crazy.  I made a point not to look at it to see if it was saying too fast or too slow, or if I hit a new mile or what.  I just let the beeping remind me to keep a good pace and not to obsess over it.  I knew about where in my neighborhood it would hit that magical Mile 5 marker when I could start my cool down, so I made a point to look at it there and was grateful for a chance to slow down!

I got home and was glad to have this run done, but also glad to see the stats on my watch that I had nailed it!  I did some more researching on tempo runs today and found that they should be done at a rate that is comfortably hard, but not a suicide pace either.  It should be a pace that is too hard to carry on a conversation, but one that you can sustain for gradually longer periods of time.  But also at the same time, you are happy to slow down or be done.  Yep, that was EXACTLY what this work out felt like.  I did my best, but a mile or so into the tempo part of the run, I found that though it was difficult, I could sustain it.  But I was also happy for the chance to stop!  I kept telling myself that if I was comfortable, I was doing it wrong :P

Thus, that is going to be the theme of this training plan.  Everything about it pushes me out of my comfort zone.  The sheer mileage, the super long LONG runs, and the speed work.  None of this is what I have done in the past, at least not to this volume.  I am just taking it one work out and one week at a time as to not get overwhelmed or discouraged.  When it gets tough though I keep my eye on the prize, which is hopefully a great race in St. George :)

So, until next time -

Happy Training/Racing all!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

The Race Lottos Love Me! HELLO ST.G 26.2!

Well, my third and final race lottery of the year was a success...I found out that for the third year in a row, I got into the St. George Marathon.  The first two lotteries of the season being Little Red Century Ride and LOTOJA.  Any one that has read this blog, or knows me, knows that this is my favorite race.  On any given year, only about half of those that apply get in through their random lotto, and for the third year in a row, I was lucky enough to get in!

Last year I had really mixed feelings about doing the race, even up till the weeks before.  I didn't want to train, I was stressed about my not so great training, but ended up having a fantastic race.  This year, I am not going to lie, I think I would have cried if I hadn't gotten in.  I am so freakin excited to do this, I can't stand it! I guess one thing that I learned last year is that I am really capable of good things, and that I can blow myself away even when I don't think there is much in me, as far as race performance can go.  So, I am taking away from that the possibility if I really do train well and push my comfort zone, imagine then what I can do!  That potential alone has me so excited to do this race, I am ready to jump into training!

I have thought for the past 24 hours about how I want to train.  For my first marathon I followed a training plan that I found on the web designed for those doing their first marathon. If focused on distances only. The next three I have done my own thing, basically running 3-4 days a week, with weekday runs being between 3-6 miles, and the weekend runs gradually getting longer up til one or two 18 milers.  I have then followed that with a 2-3 week taper.

However, for this year, I want to do more.  I want more structured training and more training with a purpose in mind.  I called on my friend Dave, who is an avid runner and marathoner and asked what he does.  He referred me to Runners World's Smart Coach option on their website.  You simply enter a recent race time, how hard you want to train, when your goal race is, and they configure a plan for you.  I was curious and skeptical at the same time, so I went and tried it.  After some fiddling around with it, it came up with a plan that seems to work well with my tri and LOTOJA training, but at the same time, will push me out of my comfort zone FOR SURE.

This plan will have me running four days a week.  This includes two easy runs, one tempo/speed work run, and one long run.  However, since I am already at a point where I completed an 18 miler recently (the Striders 30k race) it starts the longest of the long runs with in the first 3 weeks and then repeats them through out the next 5 months.  So instead of just one or two 18 milers, I will have five to seven 18-20 milers by race time. Sweet!  (I say that now, I may be crying come time to do them)

The other new factor to this is the speed work.  I have never seriously done any.  This will have me doing structured tempo runs and track work outs at least once a week.  I am excited by this because I am curious about how this will affect my overall pace, and also, just for something to break the miles up of marathon training.  That is another issue, the amount of miles in this program!  I will peak out in this training plan at 50 miles in a week, which for me, is the most I have ever done.  There are a few weeks in the program that my short runs will be 10-11.  Yikes!

I know that this is taking on a lot.  I know that the commitment is huge.  I know that I will get burned out if I am not careful.  I know that the risk of injury is definitely increased with this type of training program.  I know I will have to take good care of myself mentally and physically to prevent all of the above.  However, I also know that the potential reward is HUGE, and I know that I am capable of doing this.  The paces that each training session calls for are ones that are already within my reach (though some of the speed work sessions kinda have me laughing, like YEAH RIGHT)

 I love the challenge of the marathon, and NOTHING in the world beats that feeling.  I have never trained this hard for one, so I am really intrigued by what I could potentially do, which is totally KILL it come October 5th.

At the same time, this also fits in with the other tris I have scheduled, as well as leaves room for the training I need to do for LOTOJA, which I don't plan on shirking from either.  I found that last year all of this training is cumulative, and I know that the running will benefit the cycling and vice versa.

This training program officially starts on Monday.  I have already made some adjustments in it obviously with vacations we are going on, races I already have planned, etc, but I was really pleased to see how few adjustments I did have to make to it and how well it fit in on its own.

I will keep you posted, obviously on how the next 143 days go until show time.  Can you tell how stoked I am!?!?!  Happy training all!

Monday, May 13, 2013

New Bars!

I love my bike.  Can you tell by the plethora of bike related posts lately?  However, I have been really wanting to add aero bars to it as a tri bike is not anywhere in my near future according to the hubs :)

I finally broke down and got them from Biker's Edge last week.  They were great to install them and adjust my fit accordingly.  Of course I added them on a week with terrible weather, and a crazy schedule, so I couldn't get out on them until almost a week later.

My first ride on them was on the causeway.  As much as I am growing tired of them, this was the perfect place to practice with them.  Nice, smooth, freshly paved, big shoulders, and very little traffic.  One of my friends from my tri group suggested that in getting used to them try to stay in the white line with them, so that is exactly what I did.  I found that I did much better than I thought I might, and I LOVE how they feel!  I have always struggled with slight shoulder pain on the bike, but this was not the case on the aeros!  I loved how I felt comfortable in them immediately and I was able to handle turns and curves in the road with them.  I also noticed that with my usual comfortable pace I was going 1-2 mph faster!  Sweet!

I even had a moment on the ride when I caught a good tail wind, and I was in aero and I was going 27-28 mph.  I seriously felt like I was flying!  Best.  Feeling. Ever.

I will then had a ride a few days later with them on the causeway with 30+ mph winds and they were awesome!  I felt that it was a more natural position on the bike and when I would get back up to regular position on the bike, I could definitely tell the difference in that I felt I was being blown around more.  I am really happy that I have these on my bike in time for my first century ride in a few weeks!

In the mean time, Happy Training all!

Friday, May 10, 2013

Close call

I went for a ride this afternoon.  It was something I was looking forward to all day at work, knowing it was a gorgeous day, that I would have a two hour window after work to get a ride in, another chance to ride on my aero bars, etc, you get the idea.

I came home, got the kids situated with a movie, changed my clothes, pumped my tires, grabbed a water bottle and I was off.  I decided not to ride Antelope Island today for a few reasons.  One, I am really kinda sick of the causeway.  Two, I need a change of pace.  Three, the gnats have been TERRIBLE out there lately.  I live in an area that is part suburb, part rural, so there are still plenty of low traffic and scenic areas to ride in even if you don't ride the island.  I decided on a route and headed off.  I had the roads to myself, I had a good tail wind and I was going well in aero! (I don't think I have brought the blog up to date, but I did finally add aero bars to my roadie.  I am in LOVE)  Anyhow, it was a good ride.  I rode on some new roads I haven't been on, I felt like I was keeping a good pace, and then hit a good half way point and decided to head home.  I took pretty much the same way back, on roads with little or no traffic.  I don't mind riding in some traffic, but with me still getting used to these new bars, I wanted to avoid it as much as possible.

I was within two miles of my house and was approaching a right hand turn. There is not a big shoulder on this road, and right off the side of the road is an irrigation canal that is quite full at the moment because of all of the rain we have had this week.  This is a farm road, paved, but VERY little (usually none) traffic and I run/ride on it all the time.  As I got closer to this turn, I was down in aero, hugging the white line on the side of the road and some Bronco looking car with a huge lift kit came speeding from the opposite direction.  It all happened so fast, but as he made his turn he veered over into my lane and almost hit me.  By almost I mean within INCHES.  I saw him coming, kinda froze up, I was in aero so I didn't have my breaks, and I realized there wasn't much I could do.  If I had fallen to one side, I would hit him, and the other is the canal.  I did topple over, but luckily just into the gravel on the side of what little shoulder there is.

I noticed I wasn't hurt, other than a few bruises.  My bike was fine, just dusty, not even a scratch.  And then it got EVEN BETTER.  I hear tires screech, a door slam and the driver gets out and comes over to me.  I was thinking maybe he was making sure I was okay and he might apologize.  That is what any humane, normal person would do, right?  Maybe he was just distracted, it happens to all of us.  Well, apparently he is not normal or humane.  He immediately proceeds to tell me what an idiot I am, how I have no right on the road, cursing at me, shaking his fist, etc.  I am in total shock at this.  Really?  You almost kill me in your suped up Bronco, because you are an irresponsible S.O.B, and I'm the one in the wrong?  I was obeying the law!  I was in my lane!

I was with it enough to reach for my phone in the back pocket of my jersey.  I stated taking pictures of him and his car with the license plate.  He asked what I was doing and I told him I was getting evidence for the police.  He proceeded to call me many more awful names, and then ran to his car and left.

I had another cyclist behind me that saw the whole thing, and he gave me his name and number if the police needed any other witnesses.  I called the police, gave them the info, and I haven't heard back yet.

I have read about several close calls other people have had, and I have always been grateful to live in an area with great biking where you can avoid a lot of traffic.  I also have a trainer, but I try to only use that for really bad weather.  It just goes to show that even when you are doing everything right, you can't assume people will see you, or even if they do, that they will give you plenty of room, or even stay in their own lane for that matter!  Be careful out there folks!  The world has a shortage of a lot of things, but idiots is not one of them!

In the mean time, Happy Training all!

LoToJa...Here we come!

So, the first of a couple race lotteries I am in posted their results today and and my relay team is IN for LOTOJA 2013!  I am way excited!  This means that me and four of my girl friends will be doing the  206 mile trek from Logan, Utah to Jackson Hole, Wyoming.  I am not sure what leg of it I am doing yet, but either way it is going to be awesome!  I guess I have some climbing to do this summer!  Pedal till we puke!